Navigation Links
World's biggest ice sheets likely more stable than previously believed
Date:5/16/2013

For decades, scientists have used ancient shorelines to predict the stability of today's largest ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica. Markings of a high shoreline from three million years ago, for example when Earth was going through a warm period were thought to be evidence of a high sea level due to ice sheet collapse at that time. This assumption has led many scientists to think that if the world's largest ice sheets collapsed in the past, then they may do just the same in our modern, progressively warming world.

However, a new groundbreaking study now challenges this thinking.

Using the east coast of the United States as their laboratory, a research team led by David Rowley, CIFAR Senior Fellow and professor at the University of Chicago, has found that the Earth's hot mantle pushed up segments of ancient shorelines over millions of years, making them appear higher now than they originally were millions of years ago.

"Our findings suggest that the previous connections scientists made between ancient shoreline height and ice volumes are erroneous and that perhaps our ice sheets were more stable in the past than we originally thought," says Rowley. "Our study is telling scientists that they can no longer ignore the effect of Earth's interior dynamics when predicting historic sea levels and ice volumes."

The study, published online in Science on May 16, was a collaboration that included CIFAR Senior Fellows Alessandro Forte (Universit du Qubec Montral) and Jerry Mitrovica (Harvard), and a former CIFAR-supported post-doctoral fellow Rob Moucha (Syracuse).

"This study was the culmination of years of work and deep collaboration by researchers in CIFAR's program in Earth System Evolution," explains Rowley. "For this study, each of us brought our individual expertise to the table: Rob and Alex worked on simulations of Earth's mantle dynamics, Jerry provided calculations on how glaciers warp Earth's surface, and I shaped our understanding of the geology of the landscape we were looking at. This study would not have been possible without CIFAR."

The team studied the coast from Virginia to Florida, which has an ancient scarp tens of metres above present-day sea level. Until now, many research groups have studied this shoreline and concluded that during a warm period three million years ago, the Greenland, West Antarctic and a fraction of East Antarctic ice sheets collapsed, raising the sea level at least 35 metres. But the new findings by Rowley and his team suggest that these ice sheets, particularly the East Antarctic Ice Sheet (the world's largest), were probably more stable.

To do their study, the team used computer simulations to follow the movement of mantle and tectonic plates that occurred over time. Their prediction of how the ancient shoreline would have developed over millions of years matched what geologists mapping this ancient coast have observed. The next steps for the team are to try to make accurate predictions in other locations around the world.

"The paper is important because it shows that no prediction of ancient ice volumes can ever again ignore the Earth's interior dynamics," explains Rowley. "It also provides a novel bridge between two disciplines in Earth science that rarely intersect: mantle dynamics and long-term climate. It is the kind of study that changes how people think about our past climate and what our future holds."


'/>"/>

Contact: Margaret Mroziewicz
mmroziewicz@cifar.ca
416-971-4876
Canadian Institute for Advanced Research
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Government Emerges As the Biggest Spender on Biometrics in the SEA and ANZ Markets, Finds Frost & Sullivan
2. Supplements and cows milk play biggest roles in determining vitamin D levels in children
3. High-testosterone competitors more likely to choose red
4. Scientists sequence genome of sacred lotus, which likely holds anti-aging secrets
5. Roe deer more likely to be run over at nightfall on a Sunday in April
6. Marriage can threaten health: Study finds satisfied newlyweds more likely to gain weight
7. Bottlenose dolphin leaders more likely to lead relatives than unrelated individuals
8. Unlikely partners create innovative product for college biology
9. Sodium transporter appears likely target for treating salt-sensitive hypertension
10. Southwest regional warming likely cause of pinyon pine cone decline, says CU study
11. Study: Viral reactivation a likely link between stress and heart disease
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/26/2016)... April 27, 2016 Research ... Multi-modal Biometrics Market 2016-2020"  report to their offering.  ... The analysts forecast the global multimodal ... 15.49% during the period 2016-2020.  Multimodal ... sectors such as the healthcare, BFSI, transportation, automotive, ...
(Date:4/13/2016)... 13, 2016  IMPOWER physicians supporting Medicaid patients in ... new clinical standard in telehealth thanks to a new ... higi platform, IMPOWER patients can routinely track key health ... mass index, and, when they opt in, share them ... to a local retail location at no cost. By ...
(Date:3/22/2016)... 2016 According to ... for Consumer Industry by Type (Image, Motion, Pressure, ... & IT, Entertainment, Home Appliances, & Wearable ... 2022", published by MarketsandMarkets, the market for ... USD 26.76 Billion by 2022, at a ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... June 23, 2016 /PRNewswire/ - FACIT has announced ... biotechnology company, Propellon Therapeutics Inc. ("Propellon" ... commercialization of a portfolio of first-in-class WDR5 inhibitors ... such as WDR5 represent an exciting class of ... precision medicine for cancer patients. Substantial advances have ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... -- The Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) is pleased to announce 24 new ... prostate cancer. Members of the Class of 2016 were selected from a pool ... Read More About the Class of 2016 PCF Young Investigators ... ... ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , ... June 23, 2016 , ... STACS DNA Inc., ... Leader at the Arkansas State Crime Laboratory, has joined STACS DNA as a Field ... DNA team,” said Jocelyn Tremblay, President and COO of STACS DNA. “In further expanding ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... LONDON , June 23, 2016 ... & Hematology Review, 2016;12(1):22-8 http://doi.org/10.17925/OHR.2016.12.01.22 ... Review , the peer-reviewed journal from touchONCOLOGY, ... the escalating cost of cancer care is placing ... a result of expensive biologic therapies. With the ...
Breaking Biology Technology: